The company Honor, which belongs to Huawei, is now one of the more well-known manufacturers from Asia. Honor mainly tries to appeal to younger buyers with affordable models. Unlike the competition, smartphones of this brand are also easily available in Europe via online shops. It is almost impossible to get around buying a smartphone by Honor when a good price-performance ratio is crucial. While Honor’s X-series is in the midfield in terms of performance, the C-models are the entry-level models of Huawei’s sister company. The manufacturer offers a good balance between performance, design and quality. With the Honor 7C, the counterpart to the Honor 7X is now ready to be tested and it left a good impression.
Design / Build quality / Scope of delivery
A well-built smartphone does not have to cost over 500$, as Honor has already proven often enough. At the time, the Honor 7X only cost 312$. The Honor 7C is currently already offered for 200$ on Amazon. Its design differs only slightly from the stronger 7X. Despite its display size of 5.99 inches, the 7C is also very comfortable to hold thanks to its beautifully rounded corners, as well as due to its light weight of only 164g. The device measures 76.7 x 158.3 x 8.1mm. The build quality is, as usual with Honor smartphone, simply great. Optically and haptically, you cannot recognize that it is a smartphone that costs just about 200$. Thanks to its very low weight, the Honor 7C doesn’t pull your pants down when you’re carrying it in your pocket. The phone does not have a bezel-less display, but that’s no big deal. With almost 3mm the bezels are still quite narrow. The screen-to-body ratio is quite low at 76.5%.
As already mentioned, the 7C looks almost identical to the 7X. The only thing that stands out is the changed form of the dual camera on the rear. On the 7X, the 2 sensors are arranged individually, which somehow reminds me of two eyes. In the cheaper version, the 7C, both lenses are also arranged horizontally and next to each other, but embedded in a somewhat raised, small glass panel. The LED flash is also located here, but it is now placed more towards the middle. The rear cover is made of matt lacquered aluminium and features the Honor logo at the bottom. Scratches should not occur very easily. During the test period, fingerprints were only minimally visible. As so often, the fingerprint sensor is also located on the rear and is very easy to reach. At the top and bottom, you find the familiar plastic covers in the same colour as the device to ensure optimum reception. Probably due to the material, you can see here however a small colour difference to the rest of the device. The Honor 7C is available in black and blue. It’s nice that they did not use an “inventive” name of colour like “ocean blue” or “midnight black”. 🙂
The Honor 7C can also be purchased in gold and red at the well-known online shops. In addition to the 3/32 GB and 3/64 GB versions, a 4/64 GB version is also available. If you buy the device directly from the official Honor Shop, only the 3/32GB version is currently available.
The frame of the smartphone is slightly rounded towards the front and rear. Even if the gap between frame and display or between frame and rear cover is visible, no transitions are noticeable. The build quality here is very solid. On the right side of the frame, there are the volume control and the power button. The buttons are also designed in the colour of the casing, have no play but a pleasant pressure point. The SIM-Tray is located above the left side of the frame. Fortunately, the 7C does not have a hybrid slot. The tray itself holds 2 Nano-SIM cards and one Micro-SD card for memory expansion. Dual LTE is not supported. Thus, the second SIM card is limited to a maximum of 3G. On the bottom of the frame, you can find the 3.5mm headphone jack on the left, as well as a cutout for the microphone and 5 more for the mono speaker. Unfortunately, the 7C only has a standard Micro-USB connector in the middle.
Honor 7C – C’est très chic! 🙂
The notification LED is located on the far left side of the display. When you receive push messages or missed calls, it pulsates in soft green. Sometimes it is difficult to recognize in daylight. In our opinion, it could have been even brighter. Navigation is exclusively via on-screen buttons. As usual with EMUI, however, it is possible to hide the 3 buttons and to highlight them again with a wiping gesture if necessary.
We are very pleased with the qualitative and external appearance of the Honor 7C. The Chinese manufacturer scores big in this category. Despite the large display, it is still handy and can hardly be felt in your trouser pocket due to its low weight. In addition, the rounded corners make it very comfortable to hold.
Of course, Honor also follows the current trend and gives the smartphone a 5.99-inch display in 18:9 format. The resolution of the panel is “only” 1440 x 720 pixels, contrary to that of the 7X. This results in only 269 pixels per inch, which is below the retina value. Don’t worry, you won’t notice any pixels in daily use. Only those who take a closer look can perceive individual pixels.
It is especially noticeable when you take a screenshot. Thanks to IPS, the display’s viewing angle stability is really good. The colours are strong without appearing unnatural. The brightness average is 330 LUX, but we are normally used to somewhat higher values for IPS displays. Outside, the contents can still be read well enough if there is no direct sunlight. The touchscreen detects up to 10 touches simultaneously.
The colour representation of the device is a little bit too warm for me in the standard value. That’s just my personal feeling, of course. Fortunately, EMUI offers the user the possibility to customize the colour values manually. By using 2.5D glass, the display edges are pleasantly rounded. Scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass is not included in Honor 7C. Here you may buy a tempered glass screen protector if you think the supplied screen protector does not provide enough security.
Since the 18:9 displays are becoming more and more popular, the aspect ratio can be adjusted accordingly in the YouTube app. There is also a reading mode that reduces the blue light ratio. This is particularly useful in darkness, as too cold light in darkness puts too much strain on the eyes and mind. The reading mode can also be switched on and off automatically by the system at a certain time.
As with the X7, the display of the 7C is also largely convincing. The image quality provides strong colours and good viewing angle stability. However, it must also be said that we simply no longer find an HD panel appropriate for a mobile phone for more than 170$. In our ranking of the best 120-170$ smartphones, the top ones all have Full-HD panels installed.
As already mentioned at the beginning, Honor is always keen on installing reasonable hardware at a considerable price in their smartphones. Usually, Huawei uses its own HiSilicon Kirin processors. With the 7C, on the other hand, they used a processor from the competition and installed a Snapdragon 450 by Qualcomm. This is the direct successor of the SD435, but is related to the SD625. Only the clock rate of 1.8 GHz of the 8 Cortex A53 cores is lower. The mid-range processor is manufactured in the more efficient 14nm process and should last 4 hours longer than the SD435 with the same hardware. The new SoC features an improved image processor that also supports a dual camera setup. Displays in 18:9 format can now also be addressed here. The SoC offers a good combination of enough power and balanced energy efficiency. Graphics calculations are performed by the Adreno 506 GPU. In terms of performance, the 7C is somewhat inferior to the 7X, although the difference to the Kirin 659 is not particularly large. The Honor 7X reached 81,000 points in our AnTuTu benchmark. The 7C still has an impressive 72,000 point. So you don’t have to fear any load times with the slimmed-down version of the 7X. All apps are opened without delay and Asphalt 8 can also be played smoothly with maximum details. The heat development of the Honor 7C is relatively low even after extensive gaming.
The Honor 7C is available in 2 versions: a 32 GB version with 3 GB RAM, and a 4 GB DDR3 RAM version with 64 GB main memory. The transfer rate is just under 3.2 GB/s, which doesn’t knock anyone’s socks off, but is still sufficient for daily use. The memory does not reach peak values at a reading speed of 90 MB/s. The writing speed was, unfortunately, not measurable. Nevertheless, just one value is enough to determine that the result is no longer really up-to-date. The smartphone supports Micro-SD cards up to 256 GB.
Since the SD450 is a processor of the lower-middle-class, it is also clear that we are not dealing with a performance monster. It can not quite keep up with the Kirin 659 of the Honor 7X, and you get the same processor in the Xiaomi Redmi 5 already for 140$. Moreover, there is a huge difference between the Snapdragon 636 in the Redmi Note 5 and the SD450 of the 7C to the detriment of Honor, although the competitor model costs the same. Nevertheless, the SoC cuts a good figure in practice, as modern features are now supported as well. The very good energy efficiency of the processor can also be seen in the battery test.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result 3D Mark Result
As a subsidiary of Huawei, it goes without saying that the Honor 7C runs with EMUI. The version 8.0.0 is installed, which is based on Android 8.0. The system is typically modified to such an extent that there is almost no trace of a stock version left. In the case of EMUI, however, this is quite positive, since it is equipped as usual with numerous and useful features. Among other things, as already mentioned, the colour temperature can be customized. The fingerprint scanner is not only designed to unlock the phone, it can also perform other functions. For example, you can accept an incoming call. When displaying photos, you can slightly swipe to the left or right of the sensor to display the next or previous image. In fact, this also works extremely well in practice. And it goes even further: With a simple swipe from top to bottom, the notification line is displayed at any time. The simple selection of standard apps is also great. In this way, another launcher can be set up as standard in a moment.
Furthermore, EMUI offers an integrated phone manager, which can clean up the system, add certain phone numbers to the “black list” and also search for malicious programs. If you don’t really like the appearance of the system, you can download dozens of freely available designs from the Theme Shop. However, a Huawei ID is needed, which requires a previous registration.
For operation on the road, you can easily reduce the screen section by performing a swiping gesture on the on-screen buttons (One-Handed-Mode). If you don’t like the 3 standard Android buttons, you can also activate “NaviDot” instead, which then offers the same functions. The NaviDot is freely movable and can therefore be placed anywhere on the screen. You touch it once, you go back one step. Press and hold briefly to return to the home screen. If you touch the dot and drag it parallel in any direction, all currently open applications are displayed. Well, the dot is nice to have, but who really wants a white dot on their screen?! :O)
There is little surprising news in terms of malware. Our careful examination came to the result that the Honor 7C (or EMUI) is completely free of malware. We didn’t expect a different result either. Nevertheless, we have to mention one niggle. The EMUI system comes with quite some apps and games from third parties. Fortunately, it is easy to uninstall them. Still, the bloatware shouldn’t have been there.
The 7C provides a true dual camera on the rear, consisting of a 13-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/2.2 and another 2-megapixel camera. If the lighting conditions are good, you can take very good pictures with strong colours with the smartphone. In poor lighting conditions, where even a cloudy sky is enough, all the pictures show a clear red tinge. Pictures taken in the dark appear to have much image noise and lack of details. The LED flash also has too little power to illuminate the environment well. If the flash is on, it will take 1 or 2 seconds for the photo to be taken after the trigger is pressed. The autofocus works almost instantly and very solidly. As a small gimmick, you can soften your photo. Among other things, you can capture directly on the photo where you took it and how warm it was at that time. Of course, the photos can also be provided with “funny” slogans.
The 8-megapixel front camera makes a good impression. It offers many details and a realistic colour representation, even if brighter objects in the background (e.g. sky) are clearly overexposed. Videos can be recorded in maximum in HD quality and played at half or 1.5 times the speed. However, you should keep the mobile phone absolutely still, since an optical (OIS) or electronic (EIS) image stabilization is unfortunately not available.
Thanks to the second camera on the rear, the 7C takes great bokeh shots. Photos with a blurred background are no problem, but it must be handled with care. The separation of the background, especially if you want to separate people, leaves or bushes, sometimes does not work reliably. We have already seen the same problem with the Honor 7X. With symmetrical objects, however, the dual-cam cuts a very good figure and good-looking photos can be taken.
Connectivity and communication
The Honor 7C is also a Dual-SIM smartphone. Fortunately, it does not have a hybrid slot, so that it is possible to use 2 Nano-SIM cards and still expand the memory.
In terms of call quality, we have nothing at all to complain about. My conversation partner could understand me sufficiently well at any time. The voice quality when using the hands-free option also leaves nothing to be desired. To improve call quality, the Honor 7C also supports Voice over LTE (VoLTE). The navigation in the car, as well as on foot, worked without any problems.
The sound of the loudspeaker was a bit surprising. Of course, you can’t expect a real sound experience, because the small sound generators of smartphones always sound very tinny in most cases. The speaker of the 7C, however, still delivers a clear sound even at maximum volume without oversteering. The 3.5mm headphone jack works perfectly. The inserted cable simultaneously serves as an antenna for the FM radio.
The smartphone offers the standard sensors. In addition to proximity, accelerometer and brightness sensors, the 7C also provides an E-compass, a Hall and a magnetic sensor. As so often in this price range, you have to do without NFC. Thanks to the OTG function, USB sticks can be connected and used directly. The WiFi module only supports the b/g/n standard in the 2.4 GHz frequency range and performs its work reliably. Bluetooth is available in version 4.2. Last but not least, 2 Bluetooth devices (Dual Bluetooth) can be connected to the 7C in parallel. However, the simultaneous audio output on 2 different BT headphones is not possible. 🙂
Unlocking the phone via the fingerprint scanner works absolutely flawlessly. In addition, Honor also provides the 7C with a face-unlock function, which is still quite unusual in this price range. In practice, this also works very well, if there wasn’t the possibility to trick the sensor with a photo. This may not work for every attempt and need, but it is possible. Well, the manufacturers themselves always point out that unlocking by face recognition cannot provide complete security.
Honor provides the 7C with a 3000 mAh battery. This is not a very good value for a smartphone of this large a size. In terms of numbers, you could almost assume that the smartphone won’t last a full day without being recharged. It reminds me of my LG V10, which has a large 16:9 display and even a QHD resolution, but didn’t even survive a day with 3300 mAh. That’s why I’ve already sent it into early retirement. However, we can reassure you, as the Honor 7C, fortunately, does not suffer the same fate. Thanks to the lower resolution and, above all, the power-saving SD450, the device can normally be used for almost 2 days without having to be recharged.
The 7C did quite well in the work-life battery test with almost 9 hours of DOT. If you watch a one-hour HD YouTube video at medium display brightness, 13% of battery power is lost. After a one-hour gaming session, 74% of the battery is still available. The Honor 7C is charged with a 5V/2A charging adapter. Unfortunately, Quick-Charge is not supported. The phone is fully charged after almost never-ending 4 hours.Battery lifetime Result Unit: hours